BLUFFTON SC (July 12, 2015) South Carolina native Matt NeSmith is the 2015 Players Amateur Champion. He joins an impressive list of past champions including Rickie Fowler and Bill Haas.
The rising senior at University of South Carolina started Sunday’s round five shots behind leader Chase Koepka. He carded two birdies on the front but caught fire on the back nine, birdieing 10, 13, 15 & 18. Koepka double bogied 15, putting them both at 12 under par. NeSmith birdied 18 to pull ahead by one. Koepka parred 18 to finish even par for the day and 12-under for the tournament.
It was NeSmith’s fifth start at the Players Amateur and credits his experience with getting him into top spot, “I have played a bit better golf this year than I have in years past. This has been a building block for me the other years.” Previously, NeSmith earned two top ten finishes at the Berkeley Hall Golf Club event. NeSmith earned his first spot into the Players Amateur in 2011 after winning the Junior Heritage earlier that year.
USC-Berkeley’s Shotaro Ban finished the tournament in third place. He was 1-under for the day and 10-under for the tournament.
NeSmith’s win earns him an exemption into the 2016 RBC Heritage Presented By Boeing on Hilton Head Island. It will be his first time attending South Carolina’s only PGA TOUR event, “I always have golf fever after watching Augusta and I am just really excited to play after it,” he told reporters after his round.